Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Cross - Eternal Perfection

"For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).

When Jesus offered himself on the cross, he accomplished what we are incapable of. Jesus achieved the eternal perfection of all those who are his. There is no further sacrifice needed. There is no other sacrifice sufficient. God designed the Christian's salvation in such a way that the cross is forever central and forever relevant. The fascinating thing to me about the above verse is the relationship between perfection and sanctification.

I often think of sanctification and perfection as points on a continuum. In other words, I think that the more sanctified I am, the closer I am to perfection. Perfection will be the climax of my personal holiness. Of course, I know this isn't the way it happens. But I don't always live like I know this.

Hebrews 10:14 makes it clear that perfection and sanctification aren't on the same scale. Contrary to my natural inclinations, perfection precedes and enables progressive sanctification. I'm not sanctified until the point of perfection. I'm perfect, and am being made more holy all the time. That is wonderful news! Why is it wonderful?

The cross shoots right past all my failures, all my frailties, all my sinful fits of rebellion, and declares me perfect anyway. I am sinful, yet I am perfect. It is the irony to end all ironies - like victory through a cross and triumph through humiliation. Only the mind of God could conceive such a masterful plan. The cross provides me with the assurance that no matter how bad I am, I'm perfect. The cross also provides me with the assurance that no matter how good I am, I'm perfect. God doesn't relate to me on the basis of my sanctification. Praise God! He relates to me on the perfect status bought for me on the cross of Jesus Christ. How much happier might marriage be if spouses would relate to one another on the basis of their perfect position in Christ rather than their current level of sanctification? Why don't you and your spouse be the ones to work it out?

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